More than 10,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. While this may seem like a chilling figure, it’s actually decreased drastically in the last 50 years—largely due to the fact that more women are getting regular Pap smears. Even though it’s a potentially life-saving procedure, many women view Pap smears with emotions ranging from annoyance to fear. However, by neglecting regular examinations, you put yourself at risk for developing undetected cervical cancer. Here’s a look at five symptoms associated with cervical cancer that are scarier than a Pap smear.
Unfortunately, most treatments for cervical cancer leave women unable to have children. This is often a very emotionally difficult thing to deal with when coupled with a cancer diagnosis, so it’s understandable that a woman would be upset to find this out. If cervical cancer is detected early enough, there is a still a chance that you may be able to have children. However, this disease can only be caught in time if you’re going in for regular Pap smears.
- Increased Risk of Other Cancers
If left undetected and untreated, cervical cancer can easily move to other parts of the body. This is an especially pressing problem considering that there are lymph nodes near the pelvis. Cancer that begins to attack the body’s lymphatic system means that the disease is moving quickly and has the potential to be transported throughout the body. However, with regular Pap smears, cervical cancer can much more easily be contained and eliminated.
- Cancer Treatment Side Effects
While current treatments for cancer, such as radiation and chemotherapy, have proven effective, they take a heavy toll on the noncancerous cells in your body as well. Side effects such as hair loss, fatigue, and nausea are both common and severe among treatment patients. Because these treatments can take weeks or even months to complete, many patients feel drained both emotionally and physically for long stretches of time.
- Bleeding Issues
Excessive vaginal bleeding is a common symptom associated with cervical cancer, and this includes both menstruation that is severely heavy and menstruation that can last up to twice as long as normal. This poses not only sanitary issues but more severe problems like anemia, which is a condition that involves your red blood cell count falling below a healthy level.
People suffering from cancer in the pelvic area (such as cervical cancer) are at risk for developing urinary incontinence, or problems controlling urination. If a tumor grows large enough, it can place excess pressure on surrounding organs, which prevents them from doing their jobs correctly. When this occurs with the bladder, you might find yourself with a frequent, overwhelming urge to urinate or the inability to stop it.